DeKalb Democrats Mayoral Debate Forum


votecountsThere will be a Mayoral Debate this Thursday for the four candidates who are running for Mayor in DeKalb, Illinois this election. This DeKalb Mayoral Debate Forum is sponsored by the DeKalb County Democratic Party and is open to the public.  The debate will immediately follow the regularly scheduled monthly DeKalb County Democratic Central Committee meeting at the same location.

All four candidates for DeKalb mayor, Jennifer Groce, David Jacobson, John Rey, and Mike Verbic will participate with questions being submitted by the audience on a note card to the debate moderator.

“We really wanted to provide an in-depth forum for the public where they could get their questions answered and hear where the candidates all stand on the issues,” said Mark Pietrowski, Chair of the DeKalb County Democratic Party. “We recognize that the 2013 elections are nonpartisan but view this forum as a service to the community.”

Other candidates running for office in the city/township of DeKalb are welcome to come and provide information to everyone in attendance at the debate and will be introduced by the debate moderator. The debate will be held this Thursday, February 21st, 2013 at 8pm. Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb is hosting the event at their church at 158 N. Fourth Street, in DeKalb.


  1. Our goal was to provide a service to the public with this debate. For years there have been complaints on the format used by the DeKalb Chamber so we thought we would host a debate only for mayoral candidates with questions being submitted by the public with a chance for rebuttal/followup. The results were great and candidates answered questions for an hour and 30 minutes. I stated during the welcome that this is a non-partisan election and the Democratic party will not endorse a candidate. We have members of the party that are all choosing on their own who to support and it isn’t all the same candidate. Tea party members and others in the audience all mentioned to me that they felt it was an excellent forum and several people told me the debate helped make up their mind. I am glad we were proactive and did it, instead of just having candidates at one of our meetings.

  2. As with the past and surely in the future, how will the candidates deal with NIU and future problems they will bring to the table. Will working at the university have any concerns for the candidates??? I continue hear talk about conflict of interest.
    With a big majority of DeKalb police problems dealing with students and/or students friends …. the city will have to take a tougher stance on NIU crime and its cost to the city. And then there is the housing problems … and the list goes on.

  3. I see nothing wrong with the Dems having a debate or forum. I would like to hear from the candidates and decide for myself which I like the best. Everyone is welcome. If other groups wish to have debates more power to them. Local elections aren’t partisan affairs as other elections tend to be.

    • Perhaps you see nothing wrong, Stephen, but I see no good coming of any partisan organization hosting non-partisan election debates. Mr. Pietrowski has overstepped. I also want to hear from the candidates of all stripes, but am willing to wait for a truly neutral entity to host.

      Not so long ago our commander in chief got his tongue in a twist when he spoke out of turn regarding AARP during an event sponsored by the “neutral” AARP. Take a look here to see what happened:

      Beyond the obvious breach by President Obama and subsequent embarrassment at AARP, I suspect it would be even more difficult to avoid partisan advantages and words out of turn with any partisan party hosting events for ALL candidates in non-partisan elections. Not a smart idea in my book. Let the parties stick to campaigning for their own candidates and leave the hosting of debates, etc. to neutral parties.

        • Hi Mark,

          No, I did not come to the debate. It was an approach-avoidance situation for me, plus the weather was not very nice either. Glad DeKalb County Online has their survey for the other three candidates, too bad John Rey was too busy for it.

          I would have liked to come to a debate, but on principle cannot agree with a partisan political party hosting debate for non-partisan candidates. Just too much chance for advantage and misspoken words, as I cite in my reference above regarding Pres. Obama and the AARP. Too easy for a perceived or real mistake to occur granting advantage to some particular candidate or party. Fair game in partisan politics, NOT in non-partisan.

          I do sort of wonder if you thought this was absolutely necessary, did you consider contacting the republican and other partisan groups to do a cooperative hosting?

          But I would still rather wait for the League of Women Voters or some neutral entity to host a debate for candidates in this non-partisan election.

  4. I wonder if Republicans will now schedule a debate under their auspices? This is the first time I can remember in local non-partisan elections that a partisan party has sponsored a debate. Usually it falls to the League of Women Voters, the Chamber of Commerce, or some other neutral body. Not too sure I see any wisdom in this…

    • Kerry, I don’t know if you could define what a Republican is in DeKalb County. At least not one that you’d get two of them to agree on. Ditto on the no wisdom in this debate. It kind of pokes us voters in the eyes. If we were having a Primary to whittle the candidates from the parties down to one each then, sure, the Democrats should have a candidate forum and so should the GOP. But then again maybe there’s a method to their madness. The rumor mill has been pretty steady that one of the candidates is favored among The Powers That Be with blue faces. I’d be curious to hear from any attendees if they thought one candidate was getting more of the red carpet than the others. We’ll be there weather permitting. I also read the DeKalb County Tea Party may show up to see if they can find a Republican in the mix. Hey! Who are we to complain? Added spice to the campaign.

  5. If any candidate would like to take questions and speak with the public from their own website, try the following free open source program.

    Debate from the warmth and comfort of your own home!

    We are all looking for a mayor who is responsive to the questions and concerns of our citizens. And live debates are great for getting to know the candidates. But dang, it’s still winter out there folks!

    Let me know if you are a candidate running in the upcoming elections and need help using the software. We can hold a weekend tutorial or lesson on how to set up the software. Your current web hosting service might have this type of program also, sometimes called forum or bulletin board software.

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